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2 Nov

Starting a Business in Roatan

It isn’t difficult to start a business in Roatan, but there is a series of steps you must take to complete the legal requirements.

Keep in mind that until your business license is completed, you cannot conduct any business in Honduras. It usually takes between 6-7 weeks to complete the process, which should be just enough time to set-up shop and generate some buzz about your new venture!

First, you are required to file all paperwork through a Honduran attorney. Keep in mind that all legal documentation will be completed in Spanish.

To get started, you’ll have to charter the company. Decide the type of business your new company will conduct and then your attorney can complete the registration process through the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchant Registry. Once you have your tax ID number, you can apply for your business license. Part of the processing is an official inspection of the site, so you’ll want to be prepared at this stage.

The tax ID number is called the RTN in Honduras, which stands for Registro Tributario Nacional. Once you have your business license, you are able to open your doors for business.

Remember to file your taxes every year, and renew your business license each year as well.

Other legal considerations for starting a business

If you have employees, you are responsible for collecting and paying income tax. You are also responsible for collecting sales tax, which applies to commercial sales, cigarettes, alcohol, and tourism services (hotels and short-term rentals).

  • A legal workweek in Honduras is considered to be 44 hours, which is typically Monday thru Friday, plus a half-day on Saturday.
  • For all employees, the initial 60 days are considered a trial period. After that trial period is over, the employee is entitled to severance pay and all benefits. Domestic employees have a trial period of 15 days.
  • Employees in Honduras are paid for fourteen months within a calendar year. Employers pay an additional month’s salary in June and again in December.
  • Minimum wage in Honduras is about $350 a “Month”. 

If you want to hire domestic employees for your own home, they are not entitled to full employment benefits. You can agree on pay and schedule individually with anyone you hire for work in your home.

If you are looking to start a business in Roatan, there is something very important to keep in mind: it is illegal to hire a foreigner if that individual does not have permission to work in Honduras.

Finally, you’ll need to know the official holiday recognized in Honduras as paid days off:

  • January 1, New Years Day
  • Easter week (March/April), called Semana Santa, is a major holiday in Latin America. Only Thursday-Sunday are public holidays, but you’ll notice a huge influx on the island during this week as most schools are out all week and many smaller businesses take the full week off as well.
  • April 14, America’s Day
  • May 1, Labor Day
  • September 15, Independence Day
  • October 3, Morazán or Soldier’s Day
  • October 12, Columbus Day
  • October 21, Armed Forces Day
  • December 25, Christmas Day

If your goal is to start a business in Roatan, whether as a hobby during your retirement or as your primary source of income, your first step is to contact a Honduran attorney. Contact us for a recommendation for local law offices that can help you to start your dream business in paradise!


Are you ready to live in paradise? Contact us today to learn more about Mariposa Lagoon, your waterfront estates in the stunning Caribbean island of Roatan.

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